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USAID's Michael Schiffer Visits Eco Kolek in Palawan

USAID Assistant Administrator Michael Schiffer handed over collection vehicles and uniforms to the Eco Warriors on June 17, 2023. This initiative was aimed at enhancing the professional image of the Eco Warriors while also addressing stigma, health, and safety concerns associated with their work.

During his visit, Schiffer had the opportunity to observe the Eco Warriors as they sorted and stored collected recyclables. He also gained insights into their waste collection process and witnessed firsthand their leadership qualities and empowerment.

The assistance provided by USAID was facilitated through Project Eco Kolek thru Project Zacchaeus, a grantee of the #CleanCitiesBlueOcean program. This project focuses on supporting and empowering 60 informal waste collectors in Barangay Bancao-Bancao. Its primary objective is to create opportunities for these waste collectors to grow both personally and professionally. They are encouraged to utilize their voices, knowledge, and leadership skills to advocate for sustainable waste management practices within their communities.

By providing collection vehicles and uniforms, USAID aims to professionalize the Eco Warriors' appearance and improve their operational efficiency. This move also seeks to address the stigma often associated with informal waste collectors, recognizing their essential role in managing and recycling waste. Additionally, the focus on health and safety considerations aims to minimize potential risks faced by these individuals during their waste collection activities.

The visit by USAID Assistant Administrator Michael Schiffer highlights the importance of recognizing and supporting the efforts of informal waste collectors in promoting sustainable waste management practices. By empowering these individuals and providing them with the necessary resources, they can contribute significantly to the overall cleanliness and environmental well-being of their communities.

Through Project Zacchaeus and initiatives like the #CleanCitiesBlueOcean program, USAID demonstrates its commitment to sustainable development and environmental conservation. By investing in local communities and empowering individuals at the grassroots level, these projects foster a sense of ownership and responsibility among waste collectors, leading to more effective waste management practices and a cleaner, healthier environment for all.

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